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Concepts of Mental Health In Patanjala Yoga Sutras

Yoga is becoming popular in all parts of the world. For the restless mind it gives solace. For the sick, it is a boon. For the common man, it helps to keep him fit, comfortable and beautiful. People use it for increasing memory, intelligence and creativity. With its multifold advantages it is becoming a part of education. The system of yoga on one hand is a theoretical study and on the other, it is a practical step for self-realization.

The community of Ojashvi Yoga Shala is putting its best efforts to provide a range of online learning resources. It is bringing the collection of yoga articles to help its trainees and other diversified yoga aspirants both in the philosophy and practices of yoga for healthy living.
Mental Health
Yoga Teacher Training Mental Health
Yoga is known to play significant role in the development of mental health as well as in the treatment and prevention of mental health problems. Patanjala yoga sutras begin with the concept of ‘cittavrtii nirodha’ enlighting the importance of controlling the mind.

Patanjala yoga sutras emphasize the potentiality of yoga to maintain mental health. Yoga Teacher Training Programs of Ojashvi Yoga Shala focuses on the preventive, promotive and curative aspects of the Patanjala Yoga Sutras in its curriculum for the promotion of the mental health as well as the development of healthy personality and behaviour to maintain perfect mental health.

The yoga sutras provide a practical philosophy and an applied science of life with all the necessary concomitant processes, tools and techniques. Yoga therapy in sutras offer very sound guidelines for a harmonious material life and also a solid launching pad for higher, spiritual, transcendental life. The science of yoga deals with achieving the analytical capacity of mind. Yoga helps to synchronies our mind and body with the nature.

There is a wonderful operational correlation between the ultimate aim, and the ways and means prescribed to attain it. Man is lost in pursuit of wealth, comfort and technology at the cost of his peace of mind and health.

Blacks Medical Dictionary states that:
"Problems of feeling, thinking and behaving may be regarded as a mental illness if they become excessive for the particular individual in relation to the difficulties experienced.“
In today's society, we can see the outcome of such a limited definition, as explained so concisely in the Bhagavad Gita (2:62-63):
"When a man dwells upon the pleasures of sense objects, attraction for them arises in him. From attraction arise desire, the lust of possession, and this leads to passion, to anger."
"From passion comes confusion of mind, then loss of memory, the forgetting of duty.
From this loss comes the ruin of reason, and the ruin of reason leads man to destruction."
Causes of poor mental health according to Patanjala Yoga Sutras:
Maharshi Patañjali defines yoga as ‘yogah cittavrtti nirodhah’. He explained various therepeutical aspects in his yoga sutras. We can develop these concepts for curative, preventive and promotive aspects in relation to health. Patañjali explains about the distractions of the mind and the development of disease (vyadhi), their symptoms and method to overcome them.

Mental Health
[I Chapter, 30th Sutra] says Patanjali.
Mental laziness
Lack of enthusiasm
Craving for sense-pleasure
False perception
Despair caused by failure to concentrate and unsteadiness in concentration
Effects on Mental Health
Maharshi Patanjali precisely explains the effects of the obstacles as
[I Chapter, 31st Sutra]

These distractions are accompanied by:
Sorrow (Suffering)
Trembling of the body.
Irregular breathing.
Developing positive attitudes and feelings for Cittaprasadana
Further Maharshi Patanjali recommends a person to inculcate the qualities to purify the mind as,
[I Chapter, 33rd Sutra]

By cultivating attitudes of:
Friendliness toward the happy,
Compassion for the unhappy,
Delight in the virtuous, and
Disregard toward the wicked,

Then the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmness which is called as Citta prasadana or peace of mind.

Improving mental concentration, abilities and skills: 33-39
[I Chapter, 34th Sutra]

Principles and practices of yoga for promoting mental health
Patanjali emphasizes the importance yogangas as follows

[II Chapter, 28th and 29th Sutra]

The eight limbs, or steps to yoga, are as follows:
Yama: Universal morality
Niyama: Personal observances
Asanas: Body postures
Pranayama: Breathing exercises, and control of prana
Pratyahara: Control of the senses
Dharana: Concentration and cultivating inner perceptual awareness
Dhyana: Devotion, meditation on the Divine.
Samadhi: Union with the Divine.

Patanjala yoga sutras enlighten the importance of controlling the mind. Ojashvi Yoga Teacher Training Program is an opportunity to deepen the focus on the preventive, promotive and curative aspects of the Patanjala Yoga Sutras for the prevention of mental health disorders as well as the development of healthy personality and behaviour to maintain perfect mental health.

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